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When our taxi driver delivered us to our Bed & Breakfast in Anchorage back in 2014, our host met us outside and showed us to our room. We were ready for supper, so he directed us to the bike path behind their house and told us we might see a moose as we walked to and from a restaurant nearby.

Welcome to Anchorage, where people number about 300,000 and moose number maybe 1500 (depending on whose estimate you read). We didn’t see any there, but we did see several in Denali, but that’s another story–so many stories, so little time!

After greeting us, our host told us that he was going back to his shop. I figured he made things out of wood, but, no, this was Alaska. He had an airplane in there!

We didn’t meet our hostess until the next morning when we walked through her kitchen on our way to the dining room. Our host was a tall man of about seventy and was of European descent, but our hostess had me puzzled. Was she an Alaska Native or was she from somewhere in Asia? I just didn’t know.

The dining room was beautiful! It was filled with black lacquer furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl in intricate designs. Slowly this Alaskan’s family story unfolded.

Our hostess was Vietnamese. Her wealthy family had served in the government of South Vietnam before and during the Vietnam War. After our host finally got into the U.S. military after his brief delay because of the 1964 earthquake, he had been sent to Vietnam. There he met his future bride.

One of the first things I noticed in the dining room was a laquerware picture of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. When I asked if our hostess’ family were Christians, our host said, “I wouldn’t have married her if they weren’t!”

Breakfast was wonderful. A breakfast dish from one-hundred-year-old sourdough had been promised when we made our reservations. The promised dish was Alaskan sourdough pancakes. Our hostess had gotten her sourdough from her husband’s mother.

I had so many questions that before long, our hostess was sitting at the table with us answering them. This is what I learned.

The table where we sat belonged first to her great-grandmother. It was made specifically for her family. Two chairs were identical, but each of the others was different; and each told a story from her family. One of her great joys was that her Bed & Breakfast guests could sit at this very special table that belonged to her family.

Alaska with Fuji 075

The young man who had taken our reservation over the phone was their grandson who helps his grandmother in her B & B. He would be over that night especially to meet us, because ours was the first reservation he had ever made himself.

Our hostess spoke passionately about the important role a mother and grandmother has to keep her family together. She told a story about a recent bicycle outing with their six grandchildren. In the corner of the dining room were flowers from our host and hostess’ recent anniversary. Ray and I can’t remember if it was their 46th or 47th.

Our hostess also spoke passionately about her faith. She has used money earned in her B & B to fund efforts to help others and has returned several times to Vietnam to continue serving her people through the home church where she and our host were married. Her work there is commemorated in this gift given to her in appreciation of her work in behalf of people who are blind.

Alaska with Fuji 048

I hope this family’s story encourages you as it did Ray and me.

She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:20


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